Shelby Woman Gets 20 to 25 Years For Second-Degree Murder

Bryana Salymar Martines, 25, of Shelby, was sentenced to an active prison term of 20 to 25 years following her guilty plea to second-degree murder on Monday, March 25, 2024, in Catawba County Superior Court

The Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, imposed terms of the plea agreement after Martines entered the plea for the December 1, 2021, death of 72-year-old Robert Bruce Godfrey.

The defendant will serve her incarceration period in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.

Officers from Hickory Police Department responded to a Hickory apartment complex on December 4, 2021, after Godfrey’s son found him deceased at his residence. He had been emailing and texting his father for a couple days with no response and went to check on him. The apartment was in disarray, and the victim’s vehicle was missing from the complex.

The vehicle was stopped in Camden, Ga., where Martines and a male co-defendant were found to be occupying it. She was identified as a person of interest in the death of Godfrey.

On December 7, 2021, investigators from HPD interviewed the male subject, who had been with Martines, in Lancaster County, S.C., where he was incarcerated. He and the defendant had been in a relationship for two months, and he told investigators that Martines confided in him that she had murdered Godfrey by striking him on the head several times with a glass object.

Martines was taken into custody on December 8, 2021, and interviewed. She indicated that she and the victim became involved in a relationship. When that relationship ended, she began seeing the co-defendant.

The defendant told investigators that during a final encounter with Godfrey, she killed him by striking him over the head with a bottle.

The autopsy report from Wake Forest Baptist Regional Medical Center revealed that Godfrey died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The co-defendant is awaiting trial for his role in the case. He is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Shanna Hudson, formerly of Hickory Police Department, led the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lee prosecuted the matter for the State with aid from Legal Assistant Amy Bishoff.